In oral health, the gums are just as important as the teeth, maybe even more. They protect and support your teeth and the tissue holding them to the bone. When your gums aren’t healthy, you are at risk of losing your teeth and damaging your overall health.
How gum disease occurs
Spanisforkdentist.com says gum disease usually begins in areas that you’re not brushing or keeping clean. Bacteria will build up and form a film on the surface of your teeth, and your gums react to those bacteria by swelling. At which time, you’ve developed gingivitis, the first sign of gum disease.
Other than swelling, symptoms include pain, gum redness, receding gum line, bleeding, mouth sores and loosened teeth. The problem with early gum disease is that it won’t cause much discomfort, requiring you to pay a lot of attention to the signs.
If you don’t get gingivitis treated, the disease will spread deeper into the tissues supporting the tooth. This time, it becomes destructive. The gums pull away from the teeth and allow more bacteria to build up. When this happens, gingivitis has progressed into periodontitis, increasing your risk of premature tooth loss.
More than just an oral problem
Studies suggest that periodontitis is linked to serious health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. There’s no hard evidence that proves treatment of gum disease can prevent these conditions, but there’s definitely a connection.
The American Academy of Periodontology says people with periodontal disease are nearly twice as likely to have coronary artery disease, better known as heart disease. Oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the gums. Experts have found the same bacteria clomped in artery plaques.
The theory is that these bacteria stick to the fatty plaques in the bloodstream, resulting in blockages that lead to stroke or heart attack.
The best way to prevent periodontitis is to consult your dentist and have them check for any signs of gingivitis. Not only will that arrest the progress of gum disease, but will also ensure a healthy, clean mouth.